Gabon courts stand empty as magistrates go on strike

Awaiting-trial prisoners and civil matters in Gabon would have to wait a little longer as magistrates and court personnel have downed tools and decided to stay away from courts for 15 days to protest against poor working conditions.

The announcement was made by SYNAMAG, the national union of Gabon magistrates, which met on Monday in the capital Libreville.
The union said several meetings held with government delegates have all but failed, leaving its members with no choice but to start an industrial action.

Magistrates said they would strike indefinitely if their demands were not met after 15 days. Gabon is due to host the 2017 CAF African Cup of Nations from 14 January to 5 February.

The Central African oil-rich nation has recently been hit by a wave of civil servants strikes, a move seen by critics as signs of frustration and anger toward the ‘corrupt’ and ‘greedy’ government of President Ali Bongo.

Magistrates seem to have followed the footsteps of schoolteachers and the public broadcaster staff, who have also gone on strike to protest against unpaid salaries and performance bonuses.

Bongo, who a fresh report by the European Union accuses of ‘tampering’ with the presidential elections to cling to power, has recently visited China to beg for money and new investments.

Photo: Abidjan

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